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Philanthropist Paul Peck Donates $1 Million to Montgomery College

Gift Will Establish the Paul Peck Center for Applied Science and Technology, Support Scholarships and Create a new Biotechnology Certificate Program

Philanthropist Paul L. Peck recently made a $1 million contribution to the Montgomery College Foundation to support Montgomery College students pursuing education and training in the field of biotechnology.

Funds from Peck’s gift will go toward the creation of the Paul Peck Center for Applied Science and Technology at the College’s Germantown Campus. Among the Center’s primary initiatives will be the expansion of the College’s current biotechnology program and the addition of a two-semester Biotechnology certificate program. This initiative will position students to fill entry-level biotechnology manufacturing jobs and to work toward an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. The gift will also support scholarships for students within the biotechnology program and the purchase of biotechnology equipment.

“We are very appreciative to Paul Peck for his continued support of Montgomery College and its students,” said Dr. Brian K. Johnson, president of Montgomery College. “The Paul Peck Center for Applied Science and Technology will allow Montgomery College to establish itself as the region’s leader in the education of entry-level biotechnology workers for high-demand jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

“The world has become ruthlessly competitive and the United States is losing millions of high-paying manufacturing jobs to China and India where wages are a fraction of what they are in the United States,” said Peck. “In order for the United States to maintain its middle class, its standard of living and its competitive edge, we must develop a more educated and skillful workforce that gives us a competitive edge to offset the miniscule labor costs in developing countries. This program will provide our students with valuable entry level employment opportunities within the biotechnology sector as technicians/research associates earning $30,000 – $33,000 per year.”

Peck’s vision calls for the Center for Applied Science and Technology to take a leadership role in increasing scientific and technical literacy and in providing industry with a talent pool of job candidates possessing detailed technical knowledge and practical experience.

As a first step in implementing his vision, Montgomery College, the biotechnology industry, and Montgomery County Public Schools will begin working together to build  a national workforce development model for filling entry level science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs.

Peck has a long history of supporting higher education. Including his recent gift, Paul Peck has given $3.75 million to Montgomery College over the past 10 years. Past donations led to the creation of the Paul Peck Humanities Institute at the College’s Rockville Campus and the Paul Peck Institute for American Culture and Civic Engagement at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.

The Paul Peck Humanities Institute strengthens humanities education through fellowships for faculty members at Smithsonian Institution museums and internships for students at the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Paul Peck Institute for American Culture and Civic Engagement works to inspire civic participation, civic understanding and knowledge of American history. Among its unique programs are Jefferson Cafes, a group discussion series aimed at encouraging community conversation about important national issues.

Peck’s gift puts the Montgomery College Foundation’s capital campaign total at $22.7 million. The public, two-year capital campaign, launched in October 2007, has a goal of raising $25 million in private support for the community college. The Montgomery College Campaign marks the largest fundraising effort ever at a Maryland community college.

The Montgomery College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization governed by alumni, business, and community leaders to enhance the work of Montgomery College. The work of the Montgomery College Foundation has placed Montgomery College among the top 10 community colleges in the nation in fundraising.

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